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Volunteer Work: Adding Value to Your Life

Prophet Muhammad said that of the most rewarding actions in Islam is: aiding those in need, gladdening the heart of a Muslim, feeding the hungry, and helping the afflicted.

He, peace and blessings be upon him, also says “Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother.”

Although many might argue that volunteer work is very consuming and effortful, the rewards in return are essentially much greater. The inner statistician that stems from helping others and the smile you draw on the faces of the less unfortunate, definitely outweighs all effort that volunteer work requires. But more importantly, are the great rewards Allah grants those who help others:

“Surely Allah does not waste the reward of the doers of good” (The Holy Qur’an- Surat Al Tawba: 120).

Voices of Volunteers

Lojain Ibrahim from Cairo, Egypt, is part of the Older Sibling System in Resala, one of the biggest NGOs in Egypt. This NGO has several aiding services for Egyptians that include orphanages. Through the Older Sibling System, Lojain has been a sister for an orphaned boy for seven years. Her responsibilities include tutoring him in English, taking him out on some weekends, and visiting him three to four times a week.

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The boy, who is now nine years old, takes another tutoring lesson at Lojain’s house every Sunday for two hours. When asked about the sacrifices she has to make, Lojain says,

“So I know that this time(Sundays) is his and I can’t be doing anything else otherwise, and I can’t be canceling it if I have something to do, so I have to shape my schedule accordingly.”

Nonetheless, Lojain decided to join Resala several years back because she strongly believed that a person can’t keep taking input, which are the endless blessings of Allah, without giving output, which is the aid to people who have been less unfortunate in life.

This volunteer work has made her a better person in so many ways. She has become a better sister to her biological siblings, and a better daughter to her parents. But most importantly it has taught her to count the endless blessings Allah has given her.

Zeina Mohamed, a student in the American University in Cairo(AUC), Egypt, works in a campus community service club called Help Club. Juggling between academics and community service is not an easy task for Zeina, but the meaning and value the club has added to her life is worth it all. Zeina is the Human Resources Director in Help Club, and focuses mainly on developing the members and reviving their spirit for the good work they do.

Islam urges people to show kindness to others, and be a helping hand to those in need.
A constant sentence Zeina sends to the club members in her emails is “Don’t forget to renew your niyyah (intention) to Allah”.

Zeina greatly believes in having to constantly remind the members that all kinds of awareness and development they do for the community should be for the sake of Allah.

Accordingly, members have the faith and push to work even if the results of their work sometimes gets negatively affected by external circumstances.

Zeina has been working with Help Club for three years, and the people she works with have become her family. They encourage her to give something back to the community, but more importantly to do community service with the constant intention that all they do is for Allah. When asked about the challenges that face her from working in Help Club she says,

“For me its not just an activity, I believe in it, I love it and I’m so attached to it so I might be giving more effort than my position asks. I do sacrifice things but I consider them minor compared to the importance of my work in the club. I try my best to not fall back in my relationship with my parents, or with my academics.”

Nayera Abdel-hady, also an AUC student, is the president of Alashanek Ya Balady (AYB), which translates into “For You, My Country”. AYB is another community service club on campus that mainly develops poor areas around Egypt and ensures the sustainability of the projects they develop with the assistance of the people from the area.

When asked about how AYB has changed her life Nayera says,

“It taught me time-management, self discipline, critical thinking, crisis management, and more importantly it has taught me that the world is not just about AUC and studying, it’s much more than that”

Nayera furthermore adds,

“Community service changes our perspective of the world we’re living in. It helps people explore new territories and find their purpose in life. I’m sure that each and every student that joined AYB or any other community service organization can vouch for that”

Islam urges people to show kindness to others, and be a helping hand to those in need.

You as an individual matter greatly in your society, the difference you can make through volunteer work is greater than you can imagine.

But most importantly, the reward given from Allah in return is worth every extra minute we spend from our time giving to others.

About Sarah N. Saad
Sarah N. Saad from Egypt is a Communication and Media Arts senior at the American University in Cairo (AUC). She is currently the vice president of Help Club, a leading community service club at AUC. She is interested in media research and advertising. She was born and raised in Sweden but is now residing in Egypt.